The regular meeting of the YCW Trafford Park HQ Group met last month to look at a new enquiry into the reality of young people in the world of work.
The discussion was led by Marc Besford, who has been working alongside the GMB Union to develop a young workers’ charter for the “Year of the Young Worker” initiative. He began by asking what were the principles of decent work and whether or not the Group felt that these were the reality for young workers currently.
The response was that increasingly the idea of decent work was being undermined in the labour market today - including examples of zero hour contracts, insecure employment, a lack of awareness of basic rights and casual work where the links between worker and employers were not clear.
According to St Pope John Paul II’s encyclical on Human Work, “Work is a good thing for humanity. It is not only good in the sense that it is useful or something to enjoy; it is also good as being something worthy, that is to say, something that corresponds to man’s dignity, that expresses this dignity and increases it.”
Reflecting on this, the young workers in the Group judged the reality against this standard of “being worthy of man’s dignity” as falling short. As a result, there were a range of suggestions regarding how we could change this. For example, through the young worker’s charter idea, more could be done to educate young people on their fundamental rights at work and instil in them their inherent dignity as workers.
Marc Besford, commenting on the meeting, said: “This was a great opportunity to hear directly from young people in the world of work and get to the heart of the issues at hand. I am looking forward to building upon some of this initial feedback and using the “Year of the Young Worker” to grow the work of the YCW.”